Season 7 Round Up – Back to back titles

Welcome back! It’s been a while since the last update. Real life getting in the way. Thankfully I’ve managed put real life aside for a couple of hours, so let’s get to it…

How about we start in Belgium? Well Catalonia to be precise. Anderlecht, you will remember, had been handed a difficult Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona.

The first leg didn’t go too well. Barca’s Spanish international Victor scored 4..

barxaaway

19 shots to 15, 56% to 44%. 5-0 was more than a little harsh.

The second leg was a formality, but again we outplayed our illustrious rivals

barcahome

A 6-3 defeat over two legs in a tie which we should have won comfortably

In the league, we made more of a fight of it than usual

jupe24

We were just 2 points behind with 5 games left. We went on to win our last 5 games. Surely that would be enough to lift the Belgian title for the first time?

jupefinal

Nope, Bruges are truly unstoppable. They ground out 1-0 wins against Standard and Antwerp in their final two games.

They didn’t do badly in Europe either. A 1-1 home draw against Milan followed by this

milan ruges

Jan Pieter Martens is a goal-scoring machine.

Milan have lost twice to Anderlecht and once to Bruges in Europe this season. They’re still doing OK domestically though

a33

3 points at home to Bologna would be enough to secure lo scudetto ahead of Inter. Sure enough

milan 34

Anelka cost Capello a lot of money, but he has a habit of coming up with the big goals

As for Genoa?

genoa

Yep we finished 6th from bottom. After two consecutive 5th from bottom finishes. Consistent improvement is what it’s all about. At this rate we’ll be challenging for the league in 2030.

We did sell a number of players during the season, so at least we’ve got money to spend

genoafinance

In the Premier League, Doncaster fell to their first defeat after 24 games

villaway

Again, I’m going to argue that this was an unlucky result. But over a course of the season, you’ll always get a game or two like this

It didn’t matter though. The only question was when we would win the league, not if.

prem34

Last year’s title was all but secured away to Crystal Palace. And sure enough, a win away at Palace this season would take us to 83 points and out of reach of Liverpool. Palace are always up near the top though so it couldn’t be taken for granted

palaceaway

Carmelo Groppi, a young attacking midfielder from Italy, grabbed the goal. It was all a bit of an anti-climax this year. A bit too easy.

winners!

EUROPE

After knocking us out, Barca had to contend with our fellow Belgians in the semi-finals of the Champions League

clsemis

Bruges went one better than us. They only lost the first leg 4-0

clsemi

Inter’s third successive final, and the second time they have faced Barca in the last 3 seasons

Make that Inter’s third successive win in a final

intercl interbarca

clwinners inter

If Ronaldo doesn’t get you, Kanoute will. Inter have got the smallest squad I can remember for any big team – maybe that’s why they can do it in the Cups but come up short over a 34 game league season.

In the Cup Winners Cup there was a story brewing

uefasemi cwcfinal

Victor Ikpeba and Jason Euell always seem to score against me, and they’ve transferred that form to Europe.

Ikpeba and co did it again in the final with a first-half blitz

brumuefawinner

A very rare win for an English club in Europe. We (Doncaster) really need to up our game in the Champions League next season

You may remember Torino won the UEFA cup last year. They’re through to the semis again. This time drawn against cross-town rivals Juventus

A massive game and it goes all the way to penalties

uefa semi2That’s some terrible penalty-taking. Not sure why Zidane didn’t get to take one. Maybe they were saving him till 5th.

A second final in a row for Toro, and it’s an all-Italian affair against Bologna. These two teams have been consistent top-6 clubs for a few years now, so it’s well deserved.

It’s a thriller at Celtic Park

uefafinal

DOMESTIC CUPS

Guess what – Bruges got to the final of the Belgian Cup too..but…

bekker

Standard are one of the best teams in the country, but any defeat counts as a shock for the Brugeois

United racked up another trophy

lcfinal

Seven seasons in, and Paul Scholes still scores goals

The FA Cup final has a familiar feel

fasemis poolunutedfa

Second place in the league and a runner-up medal in the Cup for Joe Kinnear and co.

Over in Italy, it was all about Ronaldo, Kanoute, Carlsen and co in the Coppa Italia final

coppafinal

Two trophies for Inter, two runners-up medals for Bologna

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Another OK season at Anderlecht. We did well in our first Champions League run-out, but Bruges beat us to the title and knocked us out of the Bekker van Belgie

andersavr

sala deconde

A big season for Dmitri de Conde. He was given the captaincy at the start of the season and led from the front. Angelo Sala looks like he has got a bright future with us too.

Doncaster cruised to the title. We need to go a step further in Europe next year, now we have asserted our dominance in the league

doncavr doncgoals doncvaule

Over in Genova, we got rid of some of the dead wood from the squad and hopefully we can use the money to buy some big name players in the summer

genoaavr eberl

It’d also be nice if our best player is someone other than our goalkeeper next year. Maybe Cristof Eberl

INTERNATIONALS

I got my first taste of a local derby as England manager

scotland

The fans will have enjoyed that one. With no 2004 Euros to look forward to, and the 2006 World Cup being played in England, we’re not going to have any competitive matches for a while

The Euro 2004 groups didn’t throw up any surprises. Eight strong teams contested the quarter-finals. With Anelka & co sending the Dutch crashing out..

frahol

belita gerden swespa

Italy (still managed by Sir Alex) are playing the tournament on their home turf and beat a strong Belgian team. Two Scandanavian teams through to the quarter-finals. Denmark in particular shouldn’t come as a surprise. They’ve got two-time World Player of the Year Morten Carlsen, and a number of other top-level players

The Italian peninsula came to a stand-still on June 26th as the home nation took on neighbours France in Milan.

itafra

Quarter-final man of the match Martin Djetou got a red card in the first half but the French held on- mostly thanks to some heroics from Christophe Revault.

So the home nation are out, and Alex Ferguson must surely be fearing for his job now. The other semi-final ended like this

denswe

Jesper Gronkjaer scored one minute after coming off the bench and made himself a national hero in the process. Could Denmark be set for their second European trophy in 12 years?

fraden

The answer was most definitely no. Nicolas Anelka cementing his reputation as the best striker on the continent with another goal. France win their first trophy for 20 years and join Spain and Germany as the only countries to have won the Euros more than once

AWARDS

awards awaedsita

Yep, that man Morten Carlsen again, the 5-0 defeat against France didn’t deter the voters. John Toshack and Luigi Simoni are rated as the best two managers. Both won two cup tournaments but came up short in the league.

Stuart Pearce making a name for himself in the Championship with Notts Forest.

In the meantime, there are some crazy post-Euros transfer shenanigans in Milan

delpiero vieri

And a couple of big name managers scrabbling around for jobs

gelnda evans

And I’ll leave you with the passing of an England great

shearer

I’ll make sure I sign his regen next season…See you next time!

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